Robert Andrew Perez


i conceptualize slang as a word
slung so hard against the user’s body
that it changes  

i like how it has a piece of language
and it is a piece of language
that it makes old words new-feeling
          micropoems or at least

what a poem does on the front end

to reinvent is to first demolish

that it’s the jargon of thieves
those who use it steal  

i like the internet age enabling a viral thing

to be traced to its originator, like fleek
is both neologism and fossil word
          like riddance, jetsam, wedlock or shebang 

to only be used with on, as in on fleek
meaning to be on point or the french ballet term

en pointe, the state of one being on one’s toes
aligned, lifting from one’s center
          but both standing in for perfect 

created by a teenage black girl genius
talking on a vine vid about her eyebrows

           and they were

i like bae as a word for my love
how its inception has no whiteness either 

today i muse on thirst, to be horny
which is already slang for desirous

but thirst is to desire to the point at which
one has no chill (reckless) 

an urge can make the reasonable
person inside

i conceptualize desire as a body
slung around an idea
of another body so hard
that it changes

desire thus is the slang of a body


Note: The three lines starting "an urge can make" are taken from Miguel Murphy's poem "Whose Hands He Worked" from his book Detainee.

red ranger

ousted from the show          replaced          he blazed
through the remainder          dwindling anemic spoils
quickly enough to find himself          living out 

of his jeep with his alpha (his dog not robot) 
did he get to keep          his red          suit
they each had a different color          suit

because identity is a suit          did he rage
into dawn with it on          party with those
stunt doubles in red or wear the helmet during sex          those days  

are gone          mornings, he pries his back          (going
to seed)          from the leather interior, alpha licking his face
into wakefulness          that peeling  

he now associates with leaving
dreams behind          no longer tethered to long shoots
he’s afforded time to contemplate  

his and all color

the painted desert fades in
and out of hues of red          blue leaving the sky
for clay, then coal, then, instead of memory          a blankness

the wine-dark, uncloaked desert morphs


Robert Andrew Perez is a poet living in Berkeley.  He is an associate editor & book designer for speCt!, an artbook press that prints small-batch single-author chapbooks & the magazine Oar out in Oakland, where he also curates readings.  

Born in Manila & raised in the sprawling outeredges of Los Angeles County, he moved to the Bay Area to receive his BA from Berkeley & MFA from Saint Mary's College of California, where he occasionally teaches.  He is an alum of the Lambda Literary fellowship & a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award for poetry.

His poetry has appeared in print & online in publications such as DIAGRAMThe AwlThe Laurel Review & The Cortland Review.  Recently his poetry was featured in Public Pool and is forthcoming in Eleven-Eleven. His first collection, the field, is out fall 2016 from Omnidawn in their pocket book series.  He is currently writing a movie about a divorce and wine tasting; it's a comedy.